With its long, sunny days, summer in France is dreamy. Whether you like sunbathing listening to the sound of the waves, discovering the richness of French culture, or following a gourmet trail, France has got it all!
Holidays on the beach
The beach is probably the most popular holiday destination for French people – from tiny creeks to family beaches to seaside resorts with casinos and a lively nightlife; there is choice for every taste. The Atlantic is reputed to be cooler water with waves and popular with surfers, whereas the Mediterranean (being a sea, not an ocean) is warmer and less agitated.
Being France, holidays at the seaside go with delicious dinner made of seafood along the beach. In every seaside town and city, you can be sure to find restaurants serving delicious fresh fish and shellfish, and since night falls only around 10pm in summer, you can enjoy the food “en terrasse”, watching the sun set over the sea. On busy beaches, you can also find young people walking around, selling churros and ice creams.
Although many people like renting a house or a flat, going camping is a very popular way of spending holidays in France, and it is not unusual for families to return to the same site year after year, meeting up with friends they’ve made on the campsite the year before. If the camping is big, there will be animations and parties organised – as well as “pétanque” competitions!
Going camping is a big part of the popular culture. The comic French movie “Camping”, featuring the French actor and comedian Franck Dubosc is one of the most famous movies in France and is representative of this summer way of life. The sentence “Ben alors, on n’attend pas Patrick?” (so what, you’re not waiting for Patrick?) is a well-known line from that film, and many French people use it as a joke. This is definitely a cultural reference you want to have.
France is a country with a rich culture, and wherever you go, there is always a historical jewel waiting to be learnt about. Of course, cities are full with fascinating monuments and museums, from Paris’ well-known Louvre to Montauban’s musée Ingres about the eponymous French painter born in this city, to the Centre Juno Beach in Normandy, dedicated to the D Day landings.
With the gorgeous Châteaux de la Loire, the stunning village of Mont-Saint-Michel built on an island, as well as the countless castles, manoirs, churches and medieval towns that dot the French countryside, France oozes with history – whatever region you go to, there will always be something to see.
The French countryside is perfect to escape the rat race and soak in the tranquility of nature while exercising. The mountains of the Alps, Pyrénées and Massif Central offer great hiking, cycling and rock climbing opportunities, while the many rivers crossing the whole country are ideal for canoeing and swimming.
France is a rural country, which means a major part of is just fields (of gorgeous lavender, wheat and sunflowers) and forests, with plenty of walking tracks.
Gastronomy is in the roots of French culture, and every region has its food specialities, called terroir. Périgord is renowned for its fabulous duck meat, cooked as magret and confit as well as foie gras, while Lyon is considered as the capital of French gastronomy, with specialities such as quenelles and many different charcuteries. Many “routes gastronomiques” have been created by local tourism offices, enabling gourmet tourists to discover the area’s specialities like the “route du foie gras” or “route de l’olive”.
Of course, “routes du vin” (wine routes) exist as well. These are in every wine-making region and they give tourists the opportunity to discover the different types of wines of each area by going through vineyards, meeting the producers and tasting. In Bordeaux, la Cité du Vin, a huge museum dedicated to wine was opened recently and is worth a visit for every wine lover.
The best thing with France is that you don’t have to choose only one type of holiday – you can combine them all! Seaside cities are perfect for swimming and sunbathing, but they are also full of history and gastronomy – and only a short drive from inland France with even more treasures to enjoy!
Read our article about Summer in France!